More Idahoans than ever before are using Registered Apprenticeship as a path to advance their job opportunities. For women in the workforce, apprenticeships like those managed by Idaho Health Care Association (IHCA) have proven beneficial in transforming their careers and filling gaps in Idaho’s labor market.
Advancing professional opportunities for women
Codi Myers is one example. A mother of three, Myers thought she might always work as a caregiver. However, through ICHA’s Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Assisted Living House Manager apprenticeship programs, Myers advanced to full administrator at her workplace, Royal Villa Assisted Living.
IHCA is the group sponsor of 10 Registered Apprenticeship programs — the only paid source of on-the-job training that guarantees a nationally recognized credential upon completion.
For Myers, an IHCA apprenticeship allowed her to advance from a nursing assistant to a CNA to a facility administrator in only two years. She says the experience has been life changing for her whole family.
“To advance that quickly and be able to have the apprenticeship, I’ve just given my kids more opportunities, not only myself.”
But Myers says she could not have done it without the help of her mentor, Lori Eberharter.
Eberharter, now an administrator with Royal Plaza Retirement Living of Olympus, had her own mentorship experience in the assisted living field. She watched her mentor thrive as an administrator and thought she could also be in health care and help others.
“It seems like there’s a lot of women in health care that are willing to mentor other women, too, which is really empowering for people at any stage of their career,” Eberharter said.
Some of IHCA’s Registered Apprenticeships are open to entry level workers, including those still in high school. From certified nursing assistants to dietary managers, individuals can get their start in health care and work their way up no matter where they currently are in their life journey.
By sponsoring these apprenticeships, IHCA connects businesses to workers and workers to opportunities. The results can be especially beneficial to the livelihoods of working women in Idaho, who make only 75.7% of what men in the state earn, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2020.
“There are really opportunities in the health care field for women to thrive and to grow and to make a professional wage. That’s the really important piece of this,” Eberharter said. “We are making a professional wage and able to take care of our families.”
Apprenticeship can also benefit the businesses that sponsor these programs.
Increasing worker retention through apprenticeship
According to a health care report by Idaho Department of Labor economist Matthew Paskash, an estimated one in every 10 Idaho registered nurses is expected to no longer practice in the state one year from now. Other positions in health care face similar shortages.
With diminishing workforces, Idaho health care facilities must innovate ways to retain and grow their employment opportunities. Registered Apprenticeship programs provide such a path.
IHCA wants to help health care facilities recruit and retain employees, says IHCA director of membership services Dana Leavitt, and the association has the resources to do so. “It’s a game changer what we can do,” said Leavitt.
That’s because IHCA works with 80 employers to sponsor their 10 Registered Apprenticeship programs. They’ve graduated over 100 apprentices and handle the administrative aspects of managing an apprenticeship program so that businesses can focus on training up their workers.
The results? Businesses improve their ability to retain workers while creating a culture of mutual success through structured training and less-burdensome training management.
“It really does create retention,” Leavitt said. “Our members can educate, train and then promote from within.”
According to Apprenticeship.gov, 93% of graduated apprentices remain employed and have an average annual salary of $77,000. These benefits are especially empowering for smaller clinics and women in their communities, women who might not have expected they could climb the ranks as quickly as they did through Registered Apprenticeship.
“It’s life-changing for someone,” Leavitt said, emphasizing the impact of apprenticeship for single parents and working mothers trying to make ends meet on their own. “By having training and getting new skills, you’re able to apply and get jobs that you would never have thought possible.”
Idaho’s apprenticeship opportunities continue to expand, with training available in more than 1,200 occupations. The number of Idaho businesses that sponsor apprenticeships has tripled over the last four years, and more Idahoans enrolled in apprenticeships in 2022 than ever before.
For more information on apprenticeship opportunities in Idaho, go to ApprenticeshipIdaho.gov.
For more about IHCA’s Registered Apprenticeship Programs, find them at idhca.org or call them at (208) 343-9735.
The Idaho Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Idaho program is 100% funded by the USDOL as part of Employment and Training Administration grants.